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Entries Tagged as 'Web/Tech'

Marketing automation — evil or misunderstood?

July 16th, 2014 · Web/Tech

marketing automationWhen the subject of marketing automation comes up, many purists shake their head and talk about how robotic and impersonal it is.  Well — if you do it badly, that’s very true.

In that case — you really do make your potential customers feel like they’re just a number to you and that you treat everyone the same, with little regard to their specific needs.

But when you build the system with your customer in mind — it can be a wonderful experience for them and for you.

It all depends on if you build it once and put it on auto pilot or if you use it as a tool to serve up exactly what each visitor is looking for.

Automation allows you to create a user experience that puts the user in the driver’s seat. They can access the exact information they want, when they want it — and how they want it.  The key is to realize that different people are going to have different needs and you need to anticipate that as you build out the options.  Even more important — once you start getting visitors, you need to learn from where they go and don’t want to go.

It’s a given that every potential customer probably isn’t going to want exactly the same information.  As you watch and learn — you can create new paths and test the results.  At the end of the day, thanks to automation, you can create multiple paths, so each person can have a different experience, based on their own needs and interests.

That doesn’t sound so bad, does it?

Recently, the folks at Marketo asked me to comment on the question “can big data lead to big love?” Check out the article and my comments.

If you’re using marketing automation to make it easy for you and only you, then it probably isn’t going to work so well.  But if you use it as a tool to serve your customers better — it can indeed lead to big love.

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Building a website your users will love

July 14th, 2014 · Customers/Clients, Marketing, Web/Tech

website your users will loveIt seems like a “duh,” doesn’t it?  Of course you want to build a website your users will love.

But remember, not that long ago, many businesses were wondering whether or not they even needed a website.

It seemed so far-fetched that any of their customers would ever do anything but show up at their store or pick up the phone to place an order.

How quickly times change. Now, a business isn’t considered legitimate until they have a web presence.  No matter what it is you sell, odds are your prospects are going to visit your website to decide if you’re even in the running.

I’m hard pressed to think of an industry or business category that doesn’t rely on their website as the main workhorse in their marketing arsenal.

It used to be that you had an opportunity to make the sale when someone walked into your retail location, your salesperson called on the buyer or you answered your phone.  But today, a good portion of the sales process has nothing to do with you actively engaging with the potential buyer.  They’re doing a great deal of their due diligence tire kicking without you being in the room at all.

It’s happening on your website, within social networks and with the help of a Google search.

Which makes what you put out on the web absolutely vital to your business’ success. You must build a website your users will love.

All of that being said – most websites stink.  They’re badly designed, built for the business’ ego rather than the customer’s utility and they’re out of date.

Why?  I think most businesses think of their website like an ever expanding junk drawer.  They just keep tossing more stuff in there and hope that when someone rummages through it – they can find what they need.

If you’d like your website to be the effective workhorse you need it to be, consider these best practices:

It should be an experience: Keep in mind that many people will decide whether or not to do business with you based on their web visit.  So you want them to have a memorable and enjoyable experience.   Get them interacting with you – give them a quiz, help them find answers to their specific questions or offer them something they might want to share with others.

In addition:

  • Let your company’s personality be a part of the site — both in design and voice
  • Simple navigation matters – make it intuitive
  • Remember eye flow – give them plenty of white space and eye rest

Don’t talk about yourself: Talk about their world and how you can improve it.  Everything should be presented from their perspective, not yours. You might need an outside perspective to help you identify what truly matters to your audience.

In addition:

  • Don’t over share – think hors’ oeuvres, not a six course meal
  • Start at the 101 level — not every visitor will already be an expert
  • Leave them wanting more so they call or send an email
  • Keep the content fresh – stale content does not sell
  • Cascade your content – start with a little and then let them choose to drill down for more if they want it

Make it easy, no matter the device: Don’t assume everyone is using a 15-inch screen.  Within the next couple years, the majority of web searches will be conducted on a mobile phone. Check your site on desktops, laptops, tablets and smart phones because if there’s one thing your users will love is being able to access your content no matter where they are.

In addition:

  • Pay attention to page placement — your most important content should be above the fold
  • Give them more than one way to navigate
  • Use landing pages to help diverse audiences get where they want to go

Don’t let a mediocre website discourage prospects from becoming customers before they even shake your hand. If you haven’t already done it — start tomorrow.  Build a website your users will love and share and best of all — buy from.

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Is your website sales funnel-shaped?

June 24th, 2014 · Sales, SEO, Web/Tech · 2 Comments

There’s always a lot of buzz about SEO (search engine optimization), SEM (search engine marketing) and of course, Google rankings. Rightly so – each of those plays a role in how effectively your website can serve you from a marketing and sales perspective. Your website should be sales funnel shaped. But I think most companies [Read more...]

Is it time for a website re-design?

June 18th, 2013 · Strategy, Web/Tech · 7 Comments

In today’s marketplace, a company’s website is their first impression with prospects. It’s a rare purchase today that doesn’t begin with some sort of research or due diligence. And as consumers (both B2C and B2B) find themselves more time starved and more web savvy – the research tool of choice is often a Google search. [Read more...]

The power of we

October 15th, 2012 · Collaborations, Marketing, Web/Tech · 2 Comments

Today is Blog Action Day*.  What does that mean? It means that thousands of bloggers from over 108 countries will come together today to blog on a single topic.  Ironically — this year’s topic is the power of we. The essence of Blog Action Day, really. Each blogger shares his/her own slant on the theme…with [Read more...]

Search versus Social – which one wins?

September 29th, 2012 · Infographic, SEO, Social Media, Web/Tech · 1 Comment

If you’re wondering which is more potent — search or social media — as is often my answer — it depends. The truth of the matter is that every organization should be thinking about BOTH because they are the yin and yang for each other.  Each feeds the other side of the equation.  When you [Read more...]

The Google Yourself Challenge

July 30th, 2012 · Business Owner/Leader Stuff, Employees, Life, Web/Tech · 5 Comments

Forget egosurfing for a second and ask yourself, how much can people learn about you by simply Googling you? The idea behind the Google Yourself Challenge is this: friends, relatives, recruiters, hiring managers, and even strangers may be searching for you on the web.  Why not Google yourself first and control what people can learn about [Read more...]

Does your funnel need fixing?

July 23rd, 2012 · Sales, Web/Tech · 1 Comment

People come to your website every day.  They pop in and pop out.  Some spend a few seconds while others read page after to page, lingering for many minutes. Wouldn’t it be incredible to not only know who those anonymous visitors are but what links, pages and information they clicked on? Well, now it’s possible. [Read more...]

Happy Social Media Day

June 30th, 2012 · Social Media, Web/Tech · No Comments

Today (June 30th) is Social Media Day — started by Mashable to celebrate “the one thing that unites us and keeps us in constant contact: social media. Whether you’re an obsessed Instagram photographer, an endless Pinterest pinner or a ten-times-an-hour tweeter, Social Media Day is a time to recognize the digital revolution that has changed how [Read more...]

10 Tips to Improve Your SEO results

June 15th, 2012 · Strategy, Web/Tech · 25 Comments

Drew’s note:  Here’s a guest post by Brad Shorr on a topic everyone wants to know more about — how to improve SEO. Don’t be daunted by the complexity of SEO – especially now. Google has introduced a ton of changes to their ranking formula recently, most of which penalize complicated, manipulative SEO tactics. As [Read more...]